It’s late at night… you finished dinner hours ago and you’re itching for a sweet treat. “I really want it but I know I probably shouldn’t.” You spot out of the corner of your eye a chocolate bar you bought last month, before you started this stupid weight loss thing. “Oh boy! Let’s do it! I’ll get back on it tomorrow!”
What if I told you that you could totally eat the chocolate and still continue on your weight loss journey without having to feel like you’re goin to “get back on it tomorrow”? You just need to have the best one that fits your current goals and taste buds!
I recently went to Trader Joe’s and picked up several of their chocolate bars-- Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, and 72% Cacao Belgian Dark Chocolate-- to see which tasted and was nutritionally better.
In general, I’ve always preferred dark chocolate over milk chocolate, but let’s take a closer look at the nutritional details down at the chart below:
Calories: All three bars range about the same calorically with 72% Cacao Belgian Dark Chocolate being 20cal less
Fat: Only minor difference in fat content is Milk Chocolate 2g more than the others, which in the grand scheme of things, is negligible.
Total Carbs: Next to the calories, this is where all eyes go when people first look at nutritional labels. 72% Cacao Belgian Dark Chocolate has 7g less carbs (23% less) than Milk Chocolate and 5g less (or 17% less) than Dark Chocolate.
Fiber: Let’s check out fiber content. Fiber is essential in gut and digestive health (helps prevent & relieves constipation). It also assists to maintain healthy weight, lowers risk of diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. As we go down the chocolate spectrum, we see a gradual increase with 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate having the highest fiber content of 7g.
Sugar: Milk Chocolate comes in with highest in sugar at 27g and 72% Cacao Belgian Dark Chocolate with the lowest having 55% percent less.
Protein: All three bars range about the same with protein.
So, which bar is better for you? That answer depends on what your goals currently are and your palate.
If you aren’t trying to lose weight, don’t really care about extra sugar intake, and prefer the taste of milk chocolate, the Milk Chocolate bar is for you.
If you’re trying to watch what you’re eating and typically have the munchies for some chocolate late at night, the 72% Cacao bar will be the best choice. Not only does it have 55% less sugar, it also has more fiber. Given that women should consume 25g of fiber and men about 38g, this definitely works to your advantage adding a little extra fiber in your diet. In terms of taste and texture, it is slightly bitter, as it’s 72% Cacao, but it also has a smoother texture as it melts in your mouth.
Want something a little bit more on the sweeter side, but also, lower sugar with some extra fiber? Dark Chocolate is the way to go.
At this point, you might be thinking… wait I can eat the whole bar? Technically, yes, if it fits into your macronutrients or caloric intake for the day. For me, though, a fourth of the bar (about 3 squares) is good enough to hit the spot for the evening.
When it comes to weight loss, we can literally eat anything as long as the calories, carbs, fats, and protein fit into the plan, but what makes the weight loss journey more sustainable and more effective is if the QUALITY of the foods we put into our bodies are working for us and match how we want to feel and our preferred taste buds.